Throwback Thursday: An Old-Fashioned Christmas at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

(Provided photo)

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, in Houtzdale, was founded and consecrated in 1884.   The magnificent photo shown is an interior view of the church decorated for Christmas, likely in the 1890’s.

The sunlight streaming through the windows and the probably recently installed electric-ceiling lamp provided enough illumination to make the photo as clear and detailed as it is.

There was no artificial greenery available over a century ago and imported poinsettias that generously grace churches during the Christmas season were difficult to keep warm and to ship; therefore, they were not available in this area.

The ample green chains wrapping the open-timbered beams were likely hand-fastened of crow’s feet, princess pine or fir branches from the nearby woods.

Some brave souls had to use a ladder to climb upwards to wind the green chain around the timbers.  The altar and baptismal font are decorated and the lettering of “Son of God” and “Son of Man” is written in greenery on the front wall, near the altar.

Those proclamations, like dual altar candles, would denote the human and divine nature of Christ.   The heating resister, shown on the aisle floor, allowed warm air to rise into the church from the coal furnace below.

The parish priest, or vicar, is shown in his liturgical vestments and the others in the photo looked well-dressed enough to have been to Sunday worship that day.

Perhaps they were ones who did the decorating.  One lady, on the left, knew she had a work day in store for her and brought an apron to wear.

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